The Western Cape is set to become the green hub of Africa following the Cabinet’s approval of the designation of the Atlantis Special Economic Zone (SEZ), which will benefit the area’s residents with the creation of many jobs. Photo: Facebook
Cape Town - The Western Cape is set to become the green hub of Africa following the Cabinet’s approval of the designation of the Atlantis Special Economic Zone (SEZ), which will benefit the area’s residents with the creation of many jobs.

The designation of the Atlantis SEZ follows that of the Saldanha Bay Industrial Development Zone and is intended to promote industrial development along the West Coast Corridor.

The 124.5 hectare area is designated for the manufacture of green technologies and related services including wind and solar power technologies, alternative waste management, energy efficient technology, alternative building materials and other clean technologies.

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Minister of Trade and Industry Rob Davies confirmed the designation of the SEZ and the approval of the Cabinet in writing to Economic Opportunities MEC Alan Winde this weekend.

The designation as an SEZ by the government allows for certain incentives to be offered to attract investment.

A manufacturing hub for green technologies in Atlantis was established by the City of Cape Town in 2011, which attracted large investors even before the designation was official and five investors, including Hisense, are already operational.

A combined R1.8billion is expected to be invested in the SEZ by 2022, with the creation of 1200 direct jobs.

Winde said an SEZ was a powerful tool that helped to encourage both local and international investors to invest, which contributes towards growing the economy and creating more jobs.

He said South Africa was one of the world’s fastest-growing green economies and the Western Cape already led the way in green technology in South Africa.

“This designation will help us to position ourselves as the premier green technology site in Africa. Minister Davies has given the go-ahead for the SEZ on condition that the Atlantis community is given priority in terms of job creation, and opportunities for SMMEs (small, medium, and macro enterprises). This will allow the people of Atlantis to become involved in economic opportunities right on their doorsteps, and play an integral part in growing their economy,” said Winde.

Patricia de Lille, the executive mayor, said the national incentives that now came with an SEZ designation would provide a major boost to the efforts at regenerating what was once a declining industrial part of Cape Town and create much-needed jobs for the residents of Atlantis and surrounding areas.

Mike Mulcahy, chief executive of GreenCape, said the team was extremely excited to move from the planning application phase into the operational phase.

“There is a lot of work ahead in setting up the structures and governance for the SEZ in Atlantis, and we look forward to working with all three spheres of government to deliver a successful GreenTech focused SEZ,” said Malcahy.

Last week, Minister of Economic Development Ebrahim Patel and Davies met with the Atlantis community, ahead of the Cabine t’s approval of the designation of the SEZ.

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Patel said the national government had recognised the enormous growth potential of the West Coast.

He said beside Saldanha and Atlantis the national government also wanted to raise the walls of the Clanwilliam Dam.

“If you take all of that together, the new growth story for the Western Cape can be the West Coast and we do that because young Capetonians and people in the Western Cape need economic opportunity, Atlantis in particular.

“The government has taken the view that we need to do more in Atlantis, we need to do more on the West Coast to unlock the opportunity,” he said.

Davies said the national government had taken a proposal to the Cabinet for the establishment of a SEZ in Atlantis.

“What we envisaged was that the SEZ would attract additional investment. The additional investment is expected from the current proposals to generate 1400 direct jobs in industries and 4500 jobs in the construction of the zone,” said Davies.

He said the Department of Trade and Industry had supported this by providing R22 million and full support.

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Cape Argus